FEATURED ARTIST: BRIGITTE DIETZ 3 INTERVIEW WITH MATLAKAS BY COURNEY BECKETT 4 ANIRUDH ACHARYA 6 DIMITRA BISTA 12 TRICIA BUTSKI 18 SARA DEBEVEC 24 BRIGITTE DIETZ 30 ANA DRUCKER 36 ROB GRAD 42 LARISSA MONIQUE HAUCK 48 STEPHIE KATE 54 LINDA LAINO 60 CLAUDIA MILLER 66 PAUL MILLER 72 HELEN NEWMAN 78 ALBERTO REPETTI 84 SEEKO SIRIWAYO 90 MINA TALAEE 96 DENIS TAYLOR 102 NINA VALETOVA 108 CYNTHIA YATCHMAN 114
Brigitte Dietz was born 1953 in Heidelberg, Germany. After school, she studied classical philology at the University of Heidelberg, Germany and graduated as civil servant of teaching. Dietz has been artistically productive since her schooldays, specially supported by her professor Bernhard Epple and later by Traugott Notz. She early specialized in portrait painting in oil, mixed technique, collage and pastell.
Photography ÂŠ 2015 by Steven Pearse Conway
Besides, she designed book covers, staged and arranged puppetrys and fashioned indoor mural art. Since 2010, Dietz has participated in several exhibitions in Germany, Italy and UK, and in Poland, Colombia and the USA.
More about Brigitte Dietz at pages 30-35
DIETZ I often begin by softening up the archetypical geometrical forms, I put on the canvas before. After that and within these forms, I create ideas to design the painting. Salvador Dali, 2015, Brigitte Dietz
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COURNEY BECKETT to
Would you agree that your painting is an extension of the performances or vice versa? Do they feed from each other or do you see them as having totally different identities and uses? Very often when I mention that I paint and perform people often perceive me performing live painting, which is something, yes I can do, but not at all what my main works are about. I see both painting, performance and all other practices important tools that help each other when one media is more needed that another. I see painting as a tool for higher thoughts which feeds all my philosophical, performative and conceptual practice. Breath is the main focus of attention in my painting as also the base for my performance practice; it dictates the rhythm of life but also the harmony of the outcome, both for a painting or an action, either permanent or ephemeral. In a way perhaps they do have different identities but work for the same purpose in different contexts. Performance is partly about involvement of others in their viewing, is it important for your performances to be seen or heard- does this validate them in any way? My performance work is not made out of entertainment so I neither entertain others or myself, so there is no point if I am not heard or seen. Unless I decided to dance freely, that doesn’t need anyone, but only myself to connect to my higher-self and therefor to the wider “I”. I think when we are heard or seen, our practice is shaped in order for our idea
to be understood, and I guess without performing would still be relevant but really go mental crazy, which I am not sure whether can be positive or negative. I feel we are part of a bigger organism and everything makes sense as individual in seen in the whole but also as a “grain of sand” of the whole desert, we still make sense. Your paintings seem to incorporate recognisable characters, such as in the mythology series- how do you connect with these characters and how do they end up in your work? The mythology series is a series of paintings dedicated to Greek mythology re-applied to nowadays society. My relation with myth-
ological figures in this case applies as I see human beings going over and over again to the same mistakes, everything runs in cycle and the mythological stories applies still perfectly to human behaviour nowadays. With this particular series I brought back my passion of mythology giving to each character a new role: Bacchus drinking petrol instead of wine; Venus protecting psyche and Cupid instead of separating them; Zeus pooping from the sky as a mirror to what we are doing to our society, manifesting Global warming etc. Furthermore, the main point of my painting practise in the focus and the rhythm of the traced black line, the relation between empty and full, the outline and the void inside it, the rhythm and the flow of each gesture in relation to the overall picture. It could be said that performance is a way of making someone other than yourself realise something about themselves or the world; particularly in your ‘sweet thorn’ performance, it feels as though you are offering the public a chance to connect with nature and be somewhat reborn, would you agree? Yes, I agree, as I feel my real intention is finding new ways to opening up, to unfold human consciousness through a non-verbal action which reminds all of us our true nature. In practical terms, how have you survived in the world as an artist and has this been a career that has flowed for you, or would you say that it has taken a lot of persistence and struggle? I would say It’s been natural as I began doing many jobs, whatever it came to survive and the passion and activities
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became so strong and abundant that I ended up not having enough time to do any part-time jobs anymore. At some point even once a week job felt taking too much from my own work as an artist. It does take persistence and struggle but on my own opinion we all put persistence and struggle even in what we don’t like doing, so I decided to focus on what I love and invest my energy there. I also feel it’s a higher call and when I put my projects on the side I feel something in me not functioning, my personal vibrations lowers and therefor my life not tuned in. One more thing, I feel art it’s not all about me, and the persistence I put in my work, it’s not for my own sake. I feel responsible, I see art becoming a creative mission to change human consciousness which is just at the beginning of unfolding and I feel the right mind/heart set to be an agent of change. The struggle is finding different ways of being in the world and I found art to be the right platform to begin this journey, the only platform that accepted by true way of being. It isn’t much about a painting or a performance…
and understood about the Gwangju uprising in 1980 and created a work related to that in a universal understanding of it. When I went to Palestine I did the same, related to the current theo-political situation and applied a performance work still related, but with a wider point of view. I did the same with South Africa, Myanmar, Russia and so on. I feel an artist should be open and flexible in order to become: Anthropologist, philosopher, psychologist, scientist, biologist, cleaner…whatever the context needs and the inner motivation calls for. Have you ever found that once the public interact with the performance it changes your view of the performance, or the way in which you envisioned the performance?
You have shown your performances all over the world - is the location that you perform in indicative to the performance itself? Indeed! For me context and cultural background are very important and often construct the base of a specific work. When I went to Gwangju I studied
Interesting question… I think it did as we have to really understand the context we are working in, how open is people regarding our experimenting and how willing they are to take in. But mostly, when I have been honest and I have a clear vision, thought carefully about details, my intention, together with my own clarity leads me to have a sharp way forward which often brings me beyond my envisioning in a positive way. Did you start your journey with painting and was performance something you always knew you were interested in? It all began with dance but always had an active passion for drawing and sculpture. Already as a child I was interested in all the arts, I even had my own hip-hop band at some point. When I grew up I felt a huge attraction to sculpture, so huge that I decided to study classical sculpture which is still in me, in whatever I do. Bodywise, I practiced several kind of dance techniques: Breakdance, BMC, Butoh, Contact Improvisation, Martial arts, etc. So that I find myself having a great consciousness of my body and Anatomy. For practical and sub sequential reasons I ended up becoming a professional with painting and performance art but I still keep myself active with dance practice and vipassana meditation. My love for sculpture brought me later to embark to an extended view of sculpture, so conied by Joseph Beuys: Social Sculpture which brought me to finalised a master in Social Sculpture at Oxford Brookes University. The term relates of sculpture as “society” and the power of each human being tochangecollectivelytheworldtogetherasanultimate work of art which witness all the beauty and harmony of a possible world we all should live in.
More about Matlakas: www.matlakas.co.uk Interview with Riccardo Attanasio a.k.a. Matlakas by Courney Beckett (University for the Creative Arts - UCA)
Anirudh Acharya Chennai, India
Anirudh Acharyaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recent work in the digital medium is about an internal environment and personal discovery. This work has a surreal quality to its narration- a story unfolding out in the open, with no definitive beginning or end. Subjects are placed in amorphous landscapes and their isolation portrays the loneliness of our personal narration. A narration which individually, and in the context of our collective human account, has no independent existence - stories we tell ourselves because there is nothing else which could understand. His work is heavily influenced by his interest in Indian philosophy, and elements of home- the moon often symbolizing this influence. Anirudh Acharya creates mixed media artwork, paintings, photos and drawings. Born and raised in India, he is selftaught artist who works at pursing both his passions simultaneously- art and science. After completing his Bachelors in Physics, he is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Mathematics at the University of Nottingham. He divides his time equally between equations and art.
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When, how and why started your art practice? As a self-taught artist, I see my current practice as a consequence of the encouragement and exposure I received at a young age. My parents are both creative people, and I always remember being encouraged to create. Growing up, I began painting as a form of self-expression, but it is only since fairly recently that I have pursued my work more seriously. My latest body of digital work collected under the title “An inevitable sense of the perishable” has largely developed during my time as a doctoral candidate spanning the last three years. I find art to be an outlet and my work is often a visual representation of my emotional state.
Professionally, what’s your goal? I am currently working at being both a mathematician and an artist, but I find myself wanting to dedicate more time to exploring possibilities in my art. In the near future I would like to work on promoting my art and focusing on the commercial side of things. I would eventually like to transition into being a full-time artist. I also desire to have my own solo show someday. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? There is an exploration of specific concepts in my art, however I do not consider myself a conceptual artist. My primary
motivation has always been an exploration of my internal environment, giving my work a subjective context that isn’t characteristic of conceptual art. There is also a definite preference for a certain aesthetic, and the aim to have it convey an emotional state. I do however make repeated use of certain symbols, such as the crescent moon, to reference ideas and concepts in philosophy that have a bearing on my personal narration. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? An important influence has always been Indian philosophical thought and its metaphysics. Having been exposed to some of its concepts and ideas since I was
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a child, I tend to incorporate and adapt some of them into my work. Apart from this, there are always several sources of influence. What I create is often affected by what I read. The works of Hermann Hesse, Nietzsche, Rabindranath Tagore and Indian bhakti poetry come to mind. There are also artists such as RenĂŠ Magritte, Salvador DalĂ, Giorgio de Chirico and Mark Rothko whose work greatly affects me. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? It is difficult to define what constitutes art in modern culture. With creative tools now being ubiquitously available, there is perhaps more variety and content in
art than there has ever been. The growth of social media and technology along with a more diverse world has made it possible for artists with varied voices and cultural backgrounds to address social and personal concerns. It can perhaps be argued that this has amplified the role art plays as catalyst for change and the exchange of ideas.
is no comparison to the inherent physical complexity of paint on canvas or paper. Another great challenge concerns the question of reproducibility. While the very nature of new media grants it a wide reach and audience, it proves difficult to introduce an element of uniqueness to work that can be easily and perfectly reproduced many times over.
What is the most challenging part about working with new media?
What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts?
Despite the many benefits of working with digital media, I particularly miss the physicality of traditional painting. Textures, the rich tapestry of brush strokes, and serendipitous errors are certainly elements that are lacking. There
As an emerging artist myself, I think it is vital to be true to oneself and nurture uniqueness in the art one creates.
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Dimitra Bista Athens, Greece
I am an Athens-based visual artist and for the past six years, I have been creating large-scale ink drawings on paper. Structure repetition and continuity are the inherent elements of my work. As I explore structures of the natural world I transform them in such ways in order to create wider morphologies detected in space nature society, all these that consist an unbroken code the Cosmos . My artistic process combines on the one hand energetic and dynamic gestures with automatism and on the other hand a time-consuming procedure similar to a cogitation practice. Relying on my own spiritual intuition I am forming a hole that is unbroken and interminable.
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Then where and why started your art practice? I could set as start point my childhood when the painting was my natural way to express my creativity through imaginary worlds. This was a binding that never stopped. My studies at the Athens Supreme School of Fine Arts was definitely the crucial point which provided me with the means for a systematic study and the knowledge of traditional techniques, the new media and the history of Art. Professionally, what is your goal? My goal is to evolve my work in new ways and to be open to challenges and interesting cooperations. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? I prefer to think of myself as an artist who creates within the stream of a tradition from modernism until today as elements of different movements of the art history
can be detected in my work. My art process combines complexed and time-consuming practices, elements of automation with physical action, under a rather minimalistic appearance. The process is very important to me.It affects the aesthetic effect of the artwork, as my intention is to lead the viewer to another state of consciousness and stimulate allusions that cannot be captured with notions. There is a continuous consummation of the artwork that is done by the viewer and this is close to conceptual artâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s inheritances. Who and what has a lasting influence in your art practice? The natural world in terms of order - disorder, randomness - necessity, micro - macro structure, is the field where I draw my inspiration. I am deeply interested in states that include such conditions, that affect fundamentally the registration of stochastic activities, which I transform creating wider morphologies that can be detected in psychological or sociological phenomena.
In your opinion what does art means in the contemporary culture? Art has always been a living part of our civilisation that expresses the present and envisions the future. Art is connected to other intellectuals including philosophers and scientists as they share similar quests. What is the most challenging part about working on traditional media? Traditional or New Media have to serve the idea of the artwork as they offer different dynamics and limitations.The matter is how to create new aesthetic values through traditional media. Many times people ask me if my artworks are made with mechanical means or with a computer, while they are entirely handmade. For me, this is a challenge! What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? Work hard to get the knowledge, practice a lot, believe in yourself, and always be honest about what you do. Art is a life project!
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Tricia Butski Buffalo, NY, USA
My recent series of drawings titled “Semblance” examines issues related to memory by exploring its limitations and aestheticizing the instability inherent in portraiture. The work allows the viewer to enter the subconscious space between remembering and forgetting. The figures and faces, which have been distorted through a repetitive layering process, manipulate our sense of familiarity. The original image becomes fragmented through this process, a conceptual procedure that corresponds to the experience of forgetting the semblance of the face, the body, and the subject. The medium of charcoal serves as a material analog for impermanence, fragility, and malleability. Charcoal best articulates my thoughts about partiality, longing, preservation, reconstruction and deconstruction, not only for technical and aesthetic reasons, but because of its origin. Charcoal, which is the residue of organic animal and vegetation substances, speaks to the preservation and re-‐visitation of memory. The medium consists of dead matter that is condensed, preserved, and then reanimated through the drawing process. The dust can be reused over and over. Because it is an easily transferrable substance, the medium itself exerts a level of control over the mark making process, an intention beyond the limits of the artist’s control. Through distortion and fragmentation, the figures take on a monstrous form. The familiarity of the face evokes comfort while simultaneously rousing a sense of distress. This creates an intermediary form that inhabits a space both real and imagined. The resulting image is neither entirely original nor fully invented, taking form as a realistic rendering of a fleeting moment. By challenging the boundaries between representation and abstraction, and questioning the relationship between fluctuation and constancy, the works become entangled and disordered, mirroring the viewer’s innate desire for clarity and their proclivity for drawing meaning out of partiality.
Tricia Butski is a fine artist and educator living and working in Buffalo, NY. Trained in drawing and oil painting, she holds a BFA from Fredonia State University (‘13) and an MFA from the University at Buffalo’s Department of Art (‘15). She is currently a Resident Artist at Buffalo Arts Studio and an Adjunct Instructor at Erie Community College and Fredonia State University teaching foundation courses in drawing, painting, and 2D design.
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When, how and why started your art practice? The art seed was planted early for me. I have to credit Bob Ross as my first artistic influence. As a kid I frequently sat, entranced, in front of the TV watching “The Joy of Painting” on PBS after school. I had several creative outlets growing up. I drew as a hobby when I was young. I’d often check-out “how to draw (insert subject here)” books from the library, and practiced sketching my favorite characters from TV shows and games. As a teenager I became interested in video and performing. I thought, for a while, that I would pursue a career as a film producer or a talk show host. It wasn’t until my later high school years that I started taking drawing seriously and decided I wanted to pursue a career in visual arts. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? No, I don’t think of myself as a conceptual artist. The concept and ideas translated through my work are very important, but the drawings I create are meant to stand on their own as thought-provoking images. It’s important to me that the viewer feels as though they can project their own emotional content on to the work without knowing the concept and ideas involved. I’m always inspired by the viewer’s initial response that comes from their purely visual experience. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? The influence of people I’m surrounded by is a huge factor. I’ve been very fortunate to have a family that has been supportive and encouraging of my creativity from the beginning. My education, the teachers and peers I’ve worked with over the years, my own students, individuals I’ve met inside and outside of the arts community, day-to-day experiences, all of these play a distinct role in my artistic practice.
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How would you describe the art scene in your area? Buffalo, NY is currently undergoing a resurgence, which, in turn, has created an incredibly active art scene. At this time, Buffalo is full of opportunity; established galleries, alternative venues, pop-up/ temporary exhibition spaces. Throughout the spring and summer there are several art festivals in the area, and opportunities for public art projects. The community is close-knit, which allows for the prospect to make important connections. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really an exciting time to be a part of the arts community in this city. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art has always been an essential part of culture, and the contemporary moment is no exception. Today, art is a necessary outlet for provoking thought, questioning important ideologies, and tackling otherwise indescribable subjects and emotions. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a means of communication that transcends the boundaries of verbal and written language. Name three artists you admire. Three of the many artists I admire include Gerhard Richter, Alyssa Monks and Alex Kanevsky. What are your future plans? My future plans, first and foremost, are to continue creating on a consistent basis. I constantly have ideas running through my head pertaining to the current body of work I have underway and new bodies of work that are yet to be developed and executed. Of course, I will continue exhibiting as much as possible, and search for opportunities to expand my audience and extend the reach of my work. I plan to continue teaching and hope to eventually land a full-time position as an art instructor at a university, and become more involved in community and public projects in order to reincorporate art into the public landscape.
Sara Debevec Los Angeles, CA, USA
I am a performance artist and writer with a background in Sociology and Urban Studies. My artistic practice stems from avant garde cabaret - a type of performative engagement which brings together a variety of theatrical genres and includes music, singing, acting, dancing and monologue. My interest in humanities influences my performative practice and I like to explore themes of gender, identity, belonging, states of being and anthropocene, through animal archetypes. In the past, I have performed as a jealous horse, a homeless snail, a disorientated moth, an intrusive fly and an obedient dog. Although seemingly light hearted, my performances use dark humour to satirize and illuminate social identity. I am greatly inspired by animals as I find that through creating animal monologues, I am developing a new form of storytelling. Animals are submissive to people and I believe power relationships that exist amongst humans can be well represented and embodied through animal ethics. I find it fascinating how animals are often used in children’s stories to teach them what it means to be moral (eg. Three Little Pigs, Fox and Turtle). People have learned to trust and associate with animals from an early age. I use this to establish a sense of trust with my audience. The outcome of this particular bond results in a process of re-writing children’s animal stories through an adult perspective, bringing social issues to surface. I use my practice to politically engage with myself and the audience. Strong imagery, language and costume are key to my practice. As a female performer who attempts to embody unusual animal archetypes on stage I ask the question “Why can’t feminine, be portraying traditional masculine animalistic?” Using elements of burlesque and outfits that strongly emphasize the female form, I aim to break boundaries of subjectivity and gender classification using my body. My work explores how much we are willing to sacrifice to establish a sense of belonging. I am also interested in the anthopocene and what the psychological consequences are of destroying our environment. Through my installations, I create sombre, dark and lonely environments where I invite the audience to reflect on the organic loss and decay we, as humans, are responsible for. The convergence between reality and fiction is a place where I find my voice and where I am able to ask questions. I aim to engage with the audience in a way that sparks curiosity and debate. My work doesn’t seek to answer questions but rather pose questions by embodying them. Sara Debevec was born in Belgrade, Serbia to an architect father and a biologist mother. When she was only 2 years old, her family moved to Warsaw, Poland where she was going to spend her childhood in exile while the war in Yugoslavia was taking place. She holds an MSc in Urban Studies from University College London and a BA in Sociology from Goldsmiths College London. In 2008 she joined The Roundhouse Young Artists Collective in London where she was trained by Olivier award winning Marisa Carnesky in performance and circus cabaret. This opened her apetite for visual arts and she started creating multimedia performances and installations, which took her all over the world, showcasing her work at galleries in Europe, Asia and America. Sara was selected by European Commission to take part in several artist residencies in Spain, Turkey and Hungary where she trained in physical and site specific theatre. She has been writing poetry and fiction from an early age and she has written for The Southbank Centre, Spot LA, Relapse Art Collective and Antlers Press. Her practice combines poetry, video, performance and installation. In 2015, Sara was selected for a 3 month artist residency at Salem Art Works, where she created performance installations in a sculpture park. She created and showcased her work in a number of galleries in New York before moving to Los Angeles. Her work explores themes of belonging, displacement, gender classification, bereavement and anthropocene.
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When, how and why started your art practice? I come from a family of scientists and engineers and the sciences always came naturally to me. My father is an architect and my mother is a biologist so breakfast conversations at home usually involved discussions about how animals operated in their communities, how different organs in the body work and what makes a good building or space. From an early age
I was an avid reader, writer and storyteller. I was always interested in philosophy and luckily, so was my father, who became my philosophical companion and guide into the world of the arts. For a long time I was sitting on the fence between arts or sciences and ended up going into social sciences, which beautifully merged the two together. I moved to London and completed a BA in Sociology and an MSc in Urban Studies. This experience gave me lots of material to work with and think about. I then started
working in marketing for architecture and fashion events but corporate life did not feel natural to me and I was struggling to perceive that as my reality. Back then I lived in Camden Town and after work Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d go to The Roundhouse, a beautiful performing arts center that offered various art classes and workshops to young adults. It quickly became my sanctuary as I joined a circus cabaret group led by extraordinary woman and brilliant teacher Marisa Carnesky. She introduced
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me to storytelling using props, costumes, words and installations and she opened up my passion for immersive theater. With her guidance and support, I started writing and creating my own solo performances, which frequently involved animal characters. I performed as a lonely fly, a betrayed horse, a lost cockroach, a homeless snail and a disoriented moth. For a while longer I still worked my office job but I spread my artistic wings in the evenings, weekends and holidays when I toured with Marisa Carnesky and performed with her at art and music festivals such as Bestival, Latitute and Glastonbury. How has your work changed in the past years? Over time, my solo performances have become increasingly interactive and site specific. After creating a number of solo performances and touring the UK, I was selected by the European Commission to take part in Youth in Action Performing Arts Residencies in Hungary, Turkey and Spain. These residencies were focused on site specific performance art practices and physical theater in exploring various socio political themes such as gentrification, youth unemployment and climate change. The residencies really put my academic background into practice through the medium of art and they tied everything together for me. In 2012, I became increasingly interested in immersive theater and I spent some months in Berlin working on an immersive theater production with 7 Minutes in Heaven called “The Shells – Ausflug nach Neu-Friedenwald”, a performance piece inspired by Twin Peaks, where the audience was invited to inhabit a role in the unfolding drama and engage directly with the actors in a set that was made to look like a small town with a night club, a convenience store, a diner and a hotel. I also worked on Marisa Carnesky’s Tarotdrome, an immersive theater experience where the audience experienced live tarot card readings in a model village. The idea of interacting with the audience members in a space shaped by a story, really appeals to me and I believe that it is the future of theater. Two years ago I was blessed with an opportunity to do a residency at a beautiful sculpture park in New York called Salem Art Works where I spent a lot of time writing and creating performances out-
doors using the sounds of nature and performing outdoors in the light of the moon. I really connected with the earth and developed ideas for new stories. My characters took form of larger concepts, and in my performance Fish Tanks, I chose to be the ocean, who is desperately breaking up with humanity. The break up was quite dramatic as I “returned” bags with water, small pieces of trash and dead tropical fish to the audience. From solo performances to immersive theater, site-specific outdoor performances and to curating my own immersive art events in galleries, this has been an incredible experience. I am learning every day and I have so many inspiring artist friends who I am collaborating with. How would you describe the art scene in your area? The art scene in LA is booming right now, especially when it comes to performance art and immersive theater experience. I keep seeing art shows in unconventional spaces and even last night I was invited to an immersive food experience event in a beautiful converted loft space in Downtown LA. What’s more important is that the LA audience is very receptive and open to new experiences and artistic movements especially now, when there is a lot of change happening in the world. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? For me, art is an experience. As humans, we have the freedom to shape and change our experiences by going to certain places like the beach, the forest, the desert... LA definitely offers that opportunity with it’s incredible dreamy landscapes. I like going to galleries and shows because galleries and theaters are spaces with energy that will influence your experience and perception of reality. I also like to be constantly inspired because I feel like if I am not inspired, I am not really alive, so in order to give myself care, I am constantly in the flow of seeing shows, seeing live music and visiting galleries. Art is inspiration, experience and escape. It is also a practice of courage whereby you are allowing your ideas to grow into the physical world and have a life of their own.
Name three artists you admire I see performance as a ritual and I really admire Marina Abramovic for bringing ritual to my attention through her durational work. Ana Mandieta’s relationship with the earth and sculpture also very much inspired my site specific performance pieces. My third choice will have to be a company – Punch Drunk, as they are pioneers of immersive theater and I admire how brave and forward thinking they are. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? I would say my best advice is to reach out to artists who they find inspiring and try to work with them. Also, don’t be afraid to experiment with different mediums. Blending visual art with video, sound and poetry can take you to places you have never been before – embrace that. Some of the best artists I know are artistic octopuses, dipping and combining different mediums in order to tell their story. I found writing for art blogs very useful and educational as I love writing about performance art reviewing shows. I currently blog for Spot LA and Riting LA and this is how I got to know the art scene out here. What are your future plans? My short film; My Family Before Me is on show at 18th Street Arts until May 26th 2017. I have a residency coming up at PAM Residencies where I will be working on a longer, one-woman show, bringing all of my animal performances together at the end of October 2017. I am also collaborating with Pussy Power House, a collective of female artists creating a new world together through art, education, community activism and interactive events. I am extremely excited to be part of this movement as even in the course of the past couple of months, artists Corinne Loperfido, Ashley Edes and Lizzy Jeff have inspired me and really helped take my art into a more positive place of reflection. I just want to keep doing what I am doing and growing so that I can open up an immersive art space in LA where the audience can really interact with the artists through a story and a space specifically designed to inspire and elevate.
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Heidelberg, Germany By painting, I try to explore the paradox of the human being living alone in community. Whom are we representing and who are we in reality? Already in our personal lives, we have troubles to answer this question in a satisfactory way. The diversity of humanity is the variety of its individuals. They differ not only from each other, but also show their ‘manifold faces’. As a portrait artist, my task is to discover consistently this difference in every personality. My responsability is to pick it out as a central theme. In order to achieve this, not only the facial expressions, the colours and „moods“ are important, but also the confrontation of every personality with their own contexts. The abstract parts on my paintings however, I often begin by softening up the archetypical geometrical forms, I put on the canvas before. After that and within these forms, I create ideas to design the painting. The subleties operate as counterpart of the basic forms. On this stage, my paintings receive the „character“. Expressions and spaces get introduced into the formation. My aim is to excite the observer to „finish“ the painting by himself, to motivate his imagination to create his personal image in a specific situation. The painting works as a peg on which to hang the personal interpretation of the observer. By this means, the difference between the personality and its self-portrayal appears in a specific suspence.
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When, how and why started your art practice? I always used to draw and paint. But portraits, I started as a teenager. In order to paint the popular movie stars back then. Above all the actors of the German western series Winnetou, that was very popular back then in the 60th, I was eager to portray. So I drew them in pencil and charcoal. Like this I practiced the replication of photographs. But soon I started to portray my classmates and teachers during the classes. Already back then I realized a certain liberty in portrait painting, that is very different from taking photographs. Professionally, what’s your goal? Actually my goal is to max this liberty out. By dealing with someones biography, I can include important things not only into the portrait itself but also into the background. E.g. I can “confront” the portrayed person with his own self portrayal or I can broach other issues that
are connected with the person etc. I can include more dimensions of the personality. The triptych portrait of Martin Buber, that will be displayed this summer in the exhibition “Human Rights? H2O” at the famous Campana dei Caduti in Rovereto, Italy, is a good example for that. Portraits are so much more than just paintings of faces! My new series “authentic encounter” is even climactic to that. It will be exhibited now in my show “selected works” in Heidelberg, Germany. “Authentic encounter” adds another dimension: It picks the encounter of two personalities out as a central theme. It is the opposite of what we normally see in the papers, where e.g. two politicians strike in poses for meaningless press photos. They hide every authentic expression on purpose because they do not want to spoil possible deals. They play a role and are of course not interested in showing anything real. “Authentic encounter” on the other hand is about emotions. What do they really think and feel? It is about curiosity,
sympathy, comprehension etc. Sometimes it is a careful process of getting to know each other, sometimes spontaneous mutual understanding. For me, there is a huge feeling of liberty to be able to carve out and express this topic. And it seems to strike a inherent human want: everybody is interested in authenticity, encounter, meaning. The human encounter and its possibilities is an inexhaustible topic for me. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I was born and have lived always in Heidelberg, Germany. It is a very beautiful old city with the oldest university of Germany. It is characterised by its old academic tradition of thinkers and poets, mass tourism and romantic atmosphere. Well, let me put it this way: having somewhat the vibe of a museum itself, Heidelberg’s art scene is regrettably a little bit restrained, at the moment. It has a lot of potential.
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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice?
that. Art answers only to the innovative attitude of the artist and his audience.
Well, that is complicated for me to answer. I am always thrilled to see new and original things in galleries, exhibitions or even in the theatre. That excites me to new ideas myself. Of course there are many influences, lately e.g. Martin Buber’s philosophy keeps inspiring me.
What is the most challenging part about working with traditional media?
In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? For me, art lies always in the future. And that is not just a buzzword. Art reveals things, shows new ways. Art processes history. It is not bound by anything. Art does not even have to mean anything. Technical innovations for example have to be useful, efficient. They have to produce an additional benefit. I do not say it is always like this. But if not, maybe it is art itself. In art lie so many possibilities for human guidance into the future, because it does not have to answer to any predefined requirements, values or something like
Well, be it traditional media or new media, I suppose the challenges are more or less the same. The artist chooses his media in order to be able to express in the best way what he wants. And of course, that depends highly on his own skills. I could not work with digital media for example, because I am just not able to do it. But as much as new media can be used for producing art in a traditional way, traditional media do not have to be used “traditionally”. For all artists, any media is a limitation and a liberation at the same time. Let me explain: If I choose a medium, be it painting, cinema, music, poetry or putting some stuff somewhere in the room, I choose its limitation, its required technical skills, its forms of expression. But I need these limitations. If there were no limitations, my work would be arbitrary. The work of an artist includes to find ways to break those limitations, or broaden its range. A medium
without limitations, if it existed, would not be a wise choice for an artist because the superficially appearing limitations are essentially the artist’s possibilities. Sometimes you can observe: the bigger the limitations, the better the artwork. Look e.g. Joan Miró’ triptych Bleu I, II, III. He does not even max out the limitations of his media: A line, some blots on blue background. One might think: What a self-limitation. But look what liberty of expression he gains with it! There ares many examples with other artists too. So the challenging part for me is to choose a medium depending on whether it suits to my project or not. how I can use and expand its limitations? And off course to constantly try to find new possibilities of expression. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? Motivate yourself, develop a gut feeling about quality, do not be too proud to let yourself be inspired by others, observe closely your surroundings, always ask, ask, ask and take your work seriosly... but not too much of course!
Ana Drucker Mexico City, Mexico I am a mexican artist currently living in Barcelona. I focus my work on visual experimentation, fascinated by texture and color, interested in raw material and the possibilities that range between the analog and the digital.
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When, how and why started your art practice? Since i was a kid I was really into craft, so my interest in creative field has always been present. My art practice has always accompanied me, but something changed when I decided to quit my industrial design studies, because I wanted a less technical way of creating, so I decided to move to Barcelona to study art. This decision changed the way i understood and pursued art, it transformed into a way of living a daily basis in which I have to create to feel in peace. Professionally, what’s your goal? My ultimate goal is to make a conscious way of making art, and that this art could actually communicate something that goes way beyond me. I would love to move people and best of all make them doubt or change their mind. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? No not at all, for me the form and matter is the most important thing in my art. The concept need to be communicated through medium, not viceversa. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? Music is my main influence, i just love the power of music, its so immersive that it actually communicates, unites and makes people change their mind. My ultimate goal is to make people feel like the way music makes me feel. Musicians and artists that have a lot of influence in me as a person and as an artist: j dilla, aphex twin, julian bonequi, olafur arnalds, mfo, alva noto, dj krush, the roots, kendrick lamar, luke vibert, kevin martin, roger robinson, carlota guerrero, madlib. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art means change, its the way we reflect our society, and also the way we evolve through this changes in our environment. for me art reflects the world. What is the most challenging part about working with traditional media? I don’t really work only with traditional media, but for me it’s really important
to know basic and traditional techniques to actually make them evolve and mix with new technologies or ways of making art. I usually work with this boundaries, I love mixing techniques and enhancing traditional methods through technology. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? In the words of Roger Robinson Artistic success isn’t something u pursue it’s something u attract by improving yr craft, concepts execution and business .
Rob Grad Los Angeles, CA, USA
“If we worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true really is true, then there would be little hope for advancement.” -Orville Wright, American Inventor
Rob Grad was uncomfortable. He says he felt like an alien on earth. Like there had been some cosmic mistake and the angels in heaven sent down the wrong guy. He had a sense that he wasn’t supposed to be “here.” He didn’t have the capacity to express or understand it at that age, but he knew how he felt. These feelings led him down a path of searching and learning, to find meaning internally, as well as in the world around him. In his work and his life he is constantly assessing and reassessing his beliefs, ideas and feelings. He is fascinated by the complexity of philosophical, psychological and spiritual issues at the core of our existence which reflect our innate desire to live a life infused with meaning, depth and joy. In his mixed media photographic based assemblages, Rob uses a heavy dose of layering to illustrate and express his internal dichotomies, questions, hypocrisies and evolving perceptions. By blending multiple exposure photographs with paint, drawings and physical objects into works that live in the gray area between 2D and 3D, he starts with a general sense of where he is going, and then embarks on a journey with each work which leads him into the unknown. He brings concepts, imagery, technology and techniques together which on the surface may seem to clash or be incongruous, to create a cohesiveness in his art that he wrestles with in his life. Rob Grad is a multidisciplinary artist and musician. His visual work has been featured in solo exhibitions, group exhibitions, and he has received commissions from individuals and corporations. His most recent commission, “SF” hangs in the San Francisco International Airport. His heavily layered work is the result of an intricate and time consuming process he developed which combines his photography and paintings. Using plexiglass, wood and an assortment of other 3D objects, the images are assembled both digitally and physically. His music career began fresh out of high school when he signed a record deal with RCA Records with his band Kik Tracee. They were featured on MTV, toured the US, and performed with acts such as Bon Jovi and Joe Walsh. His musical works have been featured in movies and TV shows on networks including HBO, CBS, ABC, MTV, the WB. He was also a TEDx speaker in Culver City, California.
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nication of an idea, sense or feeling. Art has a way of engaging our hearts, our intuition, and both sides of our brain simultaneously. It’s part of the magic and why I love it so much. I tend to be more interested in how my work feels and what it communicates than what it looks like. But I don’t think that qualifies me as a conceptual artist in the classic sense of the term. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? Music for sure. There is a performance aspect and rhythm to my work. And it’s heavily layered. Which reminds me of how a recording is constructed, arranging and stacking all the different instruments so they complement each other.
When, how and why started your art practice? I’ve been expressing myself and communicating through various art forms since I was a teenager. Originally I was a musician. My first band signed a big record deal while I was still in college. We were really young, and money and egos started poisoning the waters almost immediately. I felt betrayed by the thing I loved the most, so I went out and bought my first paint set to try and recapture that purity of expression. I had no training and showed no talent for painting, but it helped me stay connected with the honesty and personal nature of communicating through creativity. I wound up being a professional musician for over 20 years, but I experimented with visuals through much of that time. Funny, sometimes you don’t see it until you look back. I never paid much attention, but visual work has always been a through line. I visited so many museums and galleries and fantasized about being a visual artist, but figured I never showed any talent for it, and I’d already made my decision to be a musician. Maybe in another life. In 2008, “the idea” hit me. I was standing
in front of Robert Rauschenberg’s “The Express” at the Thyssen Museum in Madrid, and I had a vision about putting on an audio / visual experiential show. I knew the pictures I had in my head were so specific, there wasn’t anyone I could ask to make the art. So I decided to give it a try.
There is also a self reflective, psychological undertow to what I do. I’ve always been analytical and curious. I spend 24 hours a day with myself, and have for my entire life, and yet I still seem to know so little about myself. How is that possible? Why do I think that way? Why do I feel that way? I have skills, thoughts and emotions buried in there that can pop up at any time. Humans are fascinating. This perspective is an endless source of ideas and inspiration for me. How would you describe the art scene in your area?
It didn’t take long before I realized my vision was ahead of my skill level and that show wasn’t going to happen any time soon. So in the interim, I pitched another show idea I had to a friend’s sister who owned a small gallery space in Los Angeles called Blue 5. I showed her pictures of two mixed media paintings on my phone. That was all I had. She was intrigued and gave me a shot. I left the meeting excited and terrified.
Los Angeles is an interesting city. Whatever you’re looking for, you can pretty much find here. For better or worse. That goes for the art scene too. Even when I was knee deep in music, “the scene” was my least favorite part of the process. Who you know, how you look, etc. Having said that, over the past few years I’ve met and made friends with a circle of artists who are super talented and whom I love.
In over my head and as stressed out as I was, it was during the period producing the work for that show that a door blew open for me. The scope of concepts, feelings, ideas and expressions I could communicate through visual art was a revelation. I was hooked.
Viewing art is such a personal experience and absolutely, completely subjective. So I’ll say the quality of art in the city is hit and miss. And you’d probably say the same. But I bet we’d disagree on which is which. That’s one of the great things about art. So it’s hard to speak to the quality. There are a ton of galleries here. A zillion artists. With the Broad museum opening a couple years ago, I think LA is getting more international attention also. Los Angeles is a good city to be an artist in. There is a lot of interest in art, and a lot of opportunity here.
Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? Concept is everything to me. Every piece I make, in every series is all about the commu-
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In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? This is a big topic for me that I’m super passionate about. I actually just wrote a short book on this topic that I’m going to be giving away for free just to get the message out. I think in a lot of ways, art in all its forms has been sidelined in contemporary society. It’s mostly viewed as a luxury or a commodity. This is a problem. Without art our whole society would be a shell of what it is. But somehow we seem to have lost that plot. Art at its best is a mirror. Deep. Personal. Spiritual. Whatever you want to call it. And that can be challenging. Our social appetite has evolved to a place where we don’t like to be challenged. I don’t want to feel like I’m wrong. Or I missed something. Or I failed. But these are some of the best signposts and indicators we have to self-correct. Not only as individuals, but as a civilization. We love to confront each other. But we need to relearn the value of confronting ourselves. If anything has moved the needle in my life, it’s been that. It can be a bitter pill. But also bone chilling and beautiful. Here’s the link to get a free copy of my book: https://goo.gl/iz9eSZ Name three artists you admire. Hmmm…you asked who I admire. Not who I’m influenced by or who my favorite artists are. Good question! Picking only three is tough. How about: Anselm Kiefer - His work is dark, and heartbreaking. But brilliant. Everything he does slows me down. I find myself having to stop and soak it in. I also love that he works in different mediums. David Hockney - I also love that he works in different mediums and has over the years. I don’t love every piece he makes. And I’m probably a bigger fan of the photography and video than his paintings, but I love his freedom. He experiments with all he new technologies. I loved his iPad paintings. He’s a tinkerer. I see myself as a tinkerer also. Robert Rauschenberg - I got the opportunity to visit his house in Florida some years ago. I gave a lecture to an art class and the instructor knew the guy there.
Robert had already passed away, but he basically willed his compound to his assistants to keep it running. I love Rauschenberg’s work. And as I mentioned before, I was literally standing in front of one of his paintings when I decided to be an artist. Seeing his house and all the creativity and everything going on there inspired me. One of the guys there told me a great story. “Bob” woke up one morning and said, “I want to make a glass bicycle. Can you figure out how to do that?” That’s a life. What are your future plans? Right now I’m preparing to show at Art Basel for my first time. I’m really excited about that. I’m also completing four pieces that are going into a giant lobby at a new athletic club here in Los Angeles. Those two projects are taking most of my time in the studio. I also have a series of plexi-
glass portraits I’ve started, and I plan to start incorporating audio, music and video into some future works as well. I tend to have a lot of ideas, so I’m usually scrambling just to keep up with myself. Beside that, I’m going to continue writing and doing videos for my blog. I’ve been enjoying sharing perspectives about art and being an artist. The big picture? I don’t know. My path has already had so many twists and turns, I have no idea what my life looks like 5 or 10 years from now. I’m just going to keep making art and see where it takes me. It’s been an interesting journey so far. I feel like a kid in the back seat of a car… ”where are we going Daddy?” He lifts his eyes up to the rear view mirror so he can see me without turning his head, and says “It’s a surprise.”
Larissa Monique Hauck Edmonton, Canada
Through an exploration of drawing and painting practices Larissa expands upon the relationship motif between femininity and nature as a site for ambiguity, catharsis, and identity. She creates hybrid creatures combined with botanicals and other natural elements that appear to be in a metamorphic state, they become a decaying organism stagnant in time, a reference to mortality. These notional subjects vary in imagery, ranging from crossbreed flowers and insects to deviant animals or human-like beings. The presence of the watercolours adds to the feeling of otherworldliness developed in each subject, the colors obscure the image further forcing the viewerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s to experience each piece at a close proximity. Her automatistic-like paintings evoke an uncanny sensation of imperfection, transformation, and intimacy. Larissa Monique Hauck is a visual artist who graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2014, where she received her Bachelors of Fine Arts with Distinction in the field of painting. In 2013 Larissa studied abroad in Sydney, Australia and attended the Sydney College of the Arts. Her work continues to be exhibited nationally and internationally, specifically within Canada and the United States. Larissa has her artwork published in various art journals throughout North America.
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When, how and why started your art practice? Art has always influenced my life, my grandma was a painter and she encouraged me to express myself at a very young age. Because of this art was a driving force in my youth and it ultimately became my voice, my release. It has been my constant key to survival, without art in my life I would not be here today, as art has helped me find the light in dark places.
For me creating is a cathartic act, a cleansing of emotional weight and a revival of my own identity. I create because I need to. Professionally, what’s your goal? I plan on creating until the very end, whether I am working full time as a practicing artist or I have an art-related day job that supports my habit. As long as I am creating art I am happy!
I do intend on receiving my Master’s of Fine Arts as well. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? I don’t really think of myself as any “kind” of artist. Artists are multifaceted and I don’t want to put myself into a box. I am always interested in learning new techniques and mediums to expand my ideas upon. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? So many things! Artists, writers, songwriters, poets, feminist culture, fashion, social media, psychology, nature, religion, people… I could go on and on. I try to find inspiration all around me, there is so much happening in today’s world that it’s easy to look past the little things that can bring us joy. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art helps open up people’s perspective, it gives us a new lens to view the world through. I think in today’s age art is more valuable than ever. Especially with the accessibility that the internet has brought forward. Sometimes it’s easier for people to look at an image or object and relate to it rather than reading an entire book/article/etc., since an artwork can be more “in your face” than a wall of text. What is the most challenging part about working with traditional media? To be honest… the drying time! I hate waiting between layers I always just want to keep working until it’s complete. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you first start out, being surrounded by all these talented and brilliant people can sometimes be intimidating to a beginner artist. The important thing is to not get discouraged, even if your artwork doesn’t currently look or feel how you want it to, just keep creating and creating and don’t ever stop. Also, don’t let the success of others detour you from your own goals, everyone works on their own level and at their own pace.
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Stephie Kate Aurora, CO, USA
Scars are something of an anomaly inherent to the skin. When the skin is torn, over time, it can mend itself. It is left changed forever by the initial tear, but the wound is no longer open and vulnerable to infection. Once a person has been hurt emotionally, they can heal, mending the broken parts with a scar of sorts. We model our understanding of emotions after our understanding of skin. Because the skin is such an emotionally charged site, one that is incapable of lies, and prone to understanding the presence of another person, I have begun to understand it as the place where relationships are felt. With my current body of work, I am invested in exploring the idea of an intimate relationship through the skin.
Remnants can be a beautiful thing, like resilience, the remnants signify survival, adaptation in the pursuit of life. I am reminded of the oysterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pearl. A grain of sand becomes trapped within, cutting and tearing at the soft interior of the creature causing immeasurable amounts of pain, of trauma. The oyster cannot expel the foreign agent and so it adapts. The oyster coats the pebble in pearl in an effort to smooth that which causes it discomfort. Over time, layer upon layer is built up to protect the oyster from harm. The solution is so simple and delicately portrayed. This example supports the notion that trauma, through the relationship of one thing to another, can produce remnants within the whole that elevate the original organism beyond itself. The oyster emerges from the trauma of the situation more beautiful than it began. The journey of the oysterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pearl is an excellent metaphor for the way that life can change us. Change happens slowly, over time. We are barely aware that it is happening until all at once we are different than we were. I am moving towards an investigation into the moment between remnant and fear. Fear is the negative aspect that we cling to in the face of trauma because we assume that it will, in some way, protect us; whereas the remnant of trauma suggests the acceptance of change and our adaptation to it. I want to engage with a viewer by causing them to feel the twinge of fear and then suggesting that fear is not necessary. It is possible to accept that which causes us fear or heart ache and become better for it. If a scar is the jewelry of skin, then fear is the jewelry of a relationship. We take comfort in it, wrapping ourselves in frivolity that is inevitable with fear. We pull our fears close, clasping them tightly, allowing their weight to strangle the life from us like an ever-tightening noose strung with anvils, bound for the floor. Bare skin versus laden with objects, there is honesty in nakedness.
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When, how and why started your art practice? I was interested in art at a very young age. I got my first scholarship to the Art Studentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s League of Denver when I was nine. I worked at creating all throughout high school at the Denver School of the Arts and then I transitioned into pursuing my BFA and finally my MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art. The Cranbrook model really set me up to be ready to take ownership of my own practice, but it was not until after I had completed my schooling that I really began my own art practice. I was finally free of time/project constraints and looping critical feedback. I was able to struggle on my own with the highs and lows of creating without the safety net of school. I distinctly remember a moment during my Starworks Glass Lab Residency that I really felt that my practice had finally become my own. Whether or not work got made was truly up to me. Many of my classmates hit up against this wall and stopped making work, but I began to thrive and explore. It was not ever difficult for me to carve out the space or the desire to create. I am always gathering and developing thoughts that drive me to produce the work you see. I have always felt the need to use visual communication to develop thoughts and feelings but it has been within the last couple of years that I have felt my practice really start to take hold of my every thought. My practice has started to become all consuming and when I am within the flow of energy, I lose track of time. I often emerge from my studio, exhausted and ravenous with hunger. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? Conceptual art is visual communication about an idea or a set of ideas. I am nothing if not a conceptual artist. My work is centrally focused on the thought that trauma can be made to result in healing. I constantly think about the relationship of opposites. The impact that one thing has on another as it changes also changes that other object. The two can change together and become more than they were. In my artist statement I highlight the journey of an oyster as it develops a pearl. This traumatic event for the oyster results in the production of something truly simple and beautiful, a solution to the trouble of a grain of sand. Skin is another of these examples that I think about fairly often as I am making work. Skin is such a delicate organ and yet it possesses a resilience that is unparalleled. It can withstand multiple traumas over the life of the organ and yet it will thrive, mending itself with a scar as it ages. Scars, for me, signify the bodyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to absorb and thrive. I often relate our human understanding of emotions to both the metaphor of the pearl and the scar. Both signify survival and growth as the result an encounter between two opposites. I am
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seeking to evoke some of these same feelings in my work. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? Relationships have a lasting influence on my art practice. The way that one thing can change and grow not only itself but another fascinates me. That translation into art is also fairly direct. You can literally sculpt one thing with another. In my early work I was using blown sugar as a substitute for blown glass, but also as a teacher for blown glass, trying to understand the idea of relationships. There was on piece in particular that captured it for me. I had blown two non-descript balloon looking forms out of sugar and I placed them suspended together. As the sugar began to adapt to gravity, the mixture did not ever completely solidify, the two forms sculpted each other as they elongated and deflated. They would touch and grab on to one another as they fell, changing the form as they fell into one rhythm. This moment changed the way I approach my work. There was a significant change in the way I think about relationships through watching these two forms create each other. It was the shift from understanding how a relationship changes a pair to feeling the relationship changing this pair. That was by far the most influential moment within my studio practice thus far. How would you describe the art scene in your area? The art scene in Denver, Colorado is nowhere near what I have seen in other states, but it is growing at a constant. Currently, we have artists gathering in the RiNo Art District downtown where there are different artist run events like classes, studio space tours, and an annual iron pour. We also have the Santa Fe Arts District where most of the galleries are gathered allowing them to hold events each month primarily centered around first Friday openings. There are also many festivals and fairs devoted to the arts in Aspen, Cherry Creek, Telluride, and others around the State. In addition to that we also have several associations holding conferences in Colorado including the annual CoMA (Colorado Metalsmiths Association) Conference in Salida Colorado. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Contemporary culture is fast paced and fraught with immediacy. Everything comes at the touch of a finger or in a convenient,
preheated box ready for consumption. You can even be an â&#x20AC;&#x153;artistâ&#x20AC;?; there is an app for that. In my opinion, even the DIY movement, which claims to harken back to the handmade true authentic self is immediacy based. The contemporary DIYer watches a video once on YouTube and all of a sudden, they are welders and wood workers. The term craftsman used to mean something as did the term artist. The lines have been blurred by consumption to the point of exhaustion. A resurgence of interest in creating by hand is an amazing trend in the market, however, the level of commitment is directly linked to contemporary culture. Art is the visual communication of a thought or idea and as such a well thought out idea takes time to communicate well. When I think of a studio practice, I think about the three artists whose work and commitment to the development of a well rounded thought literally change me as a viewer. When you walk by that truly developed piece of art, it stops you in your tracks and has the power to change you as a person. True art is counter to contemporary culture because it demands a pause in this fast paced, DIY, at your fingertips world and when you see it, you know it.
Name three artists you admire. Artists who talk about their work as though it is a living, breathing part of themselves, influence me. Listening to Ann Hamilton talk about the thoughts behind her work really inspires me to consider more deeply the relationship of visuals to translation. Whereas listening to Doris Salcedo talk about her work makes me consider the impact of directness on an audience. In lecture, Leonardo Drew discusses his work ethic as an artist detailing his affinity for sleeping in his tub so that there is more room to create the work. These artists have a passion that cannot be taught or practiced they are an inspiring bunch that remind me what it is to have drive and to share a part of their true selves through visual communication. What are your future plans? Currently I am moving into a larger studio space so that I can finish the body of work you see here. I have been working towards the conclusion of this body of work since its conception in North Carolina at STARworks Glass Lab during my artist residency there. Once the body of work is complete, I intend to offer it to a gallery in New York I have been following. My next step is to get the work into a gallery space.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico In one of her poems, Mary Oliver refers to “playing at the edges of knowing.” I associate this idea with the way that I approach my art-making. Like poetry, I utilize a condensed language to explore the connection we have to nature and how it informs our sensory contact with the world. In its infinite wisdom, nature consistently reminds us of the mystery of the hidden and the fragility of the exposed. Fusing known images with memory and experience creates a sense of exploration that connects fragments of thought into whole vision. I am interested in the “play” between art and science. Forms such as cocoons, eggs, pods and sacs with their suggestion of hidden space and its promise of revelation, birth, change and growth, also invites mystery, shelter, containment and death. This ambiguity is where we position our daily lives finding amazement at the strength but also the vulnerability of the world. The technique that I have developed, fusing hand-felted wool with many layers of rice paper allows me to add and remove, creating a sense of history within the process and combines my love of construction, collage, texture, pattern and image. Seeking to make connections where there seemingly are none, I hope to visually trigger an emotional or psychological link to other things, to explore the synthesis of image and object and to create a vivid sense of experience.
When, how and why started your art practice?
There are many artists and writers and other creative people here with many opportunities for support and exposure. While difficult to break into the art community at first, I eventually have found more opportunities and sales here than I ever did in the states.
I have been making art professionally in one form or another for almost 40 years. Creating art is inseparable from living my life. While I knew that I wanted to be an artist from the time I was 12, graduate school sealed the deal for me that making things would be my life’s work. It is the one practice that makes me feel most alive, most curious, most baffled, most daring, most frustrated, most excited, most powerful and most connected. In other words, it hits every aspect of the rollercoaster of my thoughts and emotions! Whatever else is going on in my life-personally, emotionally, professionally, painting never fails to bring me to a place that at least, intermittently allows me to bring some kind of understanding to all that I encounter and make some sense of it. To borrow a phrase from a poet I admire, I paint to feel less lost. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? While I always hesitate to put a label on the kind of paintings that I make, I would not put my work into the conceptual category. I am an image junkie and am drawn to the mysterious and strange associations we make with our “reality”. To that end, my paintings are representational, but not realistic. As a teenager discovering various art movements, I was first drawn to the Surrealists. I loved the freedom of creating any world possible where images are layered like dreams and meaning evolves over time, not artificially initiated. R.M. Rilke once pondered whether all art was not simply an act of profound remembrance. As humans, we yearn to elevate our ordinary experiences into something less ordinary, something that has more weight, something we can set to music. As an artist, I am a hunter and a thief, chasing shadows, stealing light. The images I encounter on a daily basis, both in my mind and my “reality” are flashes of color and form, unusual juxtapositions that seem to want to be connected.I attempt to layer images visually as we hear sound in our daily lives. Incongruous sounds enter and exit our space without our consent resulting in a tapestry of song that needs no composer. We encounter the world visually in the same way, but mostly in a blur, unconscious and un-awake. As an artist, I try to harness the stillness of this moving picture in an effort to
In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture?
arrest and move the viewer in some way. Art and poetry for me are ways to preserve these flashes, these images, these insights, so that once captured, perhaps my ‘remembrance’ may become profound for someone else. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? I think the sheer discovery of what is possible is the thing that keeps me painting. It fascinates me how I can begin a painting with one image and not know at all where it might end up. In this way, the painting is alive and informs the decisions that I make as I travel through the process. To me, making a painting is a little like falling in love: infatuated with the dance of images,excited to see them everyday, working joyfully and fearlessly through the changes and challenges, seeing what unfolds and understanding it until it becomes part of me, inseparable from what I always knew. I develop a relationship with the painting that keeps me committed and working through the process, even when it becomes stalled or difficult. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Since 2012, I have resided in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. This town has enjoyed a reputation for many years as an art “mecca”, both for makers and collectors.
I think art in contemporary culture supports people living more creatively. The internet, of course, has brought images, technical prowess and exposure of art in many forms to people who might not otherwise have that type of exposure. Evidence of creativity’s role in problem-solving has broken out of the art world and infiltrated all aspects of society. While I am a product of academia in terms of my art education, because I chose not to remain in that “bubble”, I think I have come to believe there is room for all kinds of art-not just “museum worthy” pieces. It is all rather subjective in any case. Name three artists you admire. Three artists that were very influential early on are Francis Bacon, R.B. Kitaj and Kiki Smith. Each of them shaped my early investigations into imagery and composition. Bosch, Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington also continue to move me. It’s hard to pick just 3! What are your future plans? I love to travel and so for the last few years, I have tried to focus on creating work in other places through art residencies.This gives my travel a certain focus or structure. I have had the good fortune of being in New Mexico and France the last two summers for concentrated time in the studio. Meeting other artists and seeing other landscapes keeps me from remaining in the familiar and helps suggest new directions. An on-going project I have been working on since being in France last summer involves the concept of Mememto Mori (remember death). With crossed fingers, I am hoping to be at a residency in Italy next spring! I would like to have enough work completed with this project to schedule a new exhibition for early next year.
Claudia Miller Winchester, UK
Through painting I am exploring the area between space and place. My works sits on the border between representation and geometric abstraction, the essence of a space encapsulated rather than any specific feature. The local and the universal are drawing closer together in modern capitalist society and one of the products of this is the rise of non-places, spaces of transience such as airports, supermarkets and stations. By reducing these sites to bare abstract forms in a limited palette of colours the viewer is able to focus on the space depicted whilst reflecting what they see back onto the non-places they associate with daily. I am questioning whether these spaces, which have come to define society now are a perpetuation of a hierarchical system of government with a set system of rules and non-democratically elected owners or whether their valueless nature denotes equality, everyone momentarily reduced to an identity-less passenger or consumer. If places can be defined by their internal parameters, spaces can be explained by their limitless borders. In a society increasingly governed by technology and reliant upon non-places, space has never been so fluctuating, the limits of the internet and commercial areas boundless. The content of these areas is both social and spatial however the interactions fuelled are culturally devoid. This is reflected in the nature of the spaces themselves which hold little architectural significance and mirror one another almost exactly. In daily life these are spaces that one experiences rather than sees and it is the spatial nature which is the focus in my works. Painting allows me to not only reflect the material nature of the spaces depicted but to alter the exhibition space itself as works can be extended out into the surrounding area.
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When, how and why started your art practice? A few years ago I was torn between pursuing a career in the arts or in a more ‘academic’ area such as medicine or law. I came to realise however that art is one of the only fields where you can diversify and work within or respond to a multitude of subject areas which vary from contemporary political debates to the sciences. Once this became clear I applied to study a BA Fine Art course in 2014 and used it as a springboard to expand my knowledge, practice and start exhibiting. Painting has always been central to my work and whilst this takes the form of individual pieces, I also use it to feed into other areas such as installation and photography. I have narrowed down my practice so that the centrefold of my work is an exploration of the area between space and place; sites of transience which we pass through yet never actively occupy. The spatial nature of such spaces is often ignored, experience taking precedent over sight, as they are a means to an end. This has encompassed a multitude of areas from parking lots to airports and more recently a gallery.
My paintings sit on the border between representation and geometric abstraction, the essence of a space encapsulated rather than any specific feature. By abstracting these sites, I have been able to reduce them to bare forms so that their spatial quality rather than function becomes the focus. They are in a limited palette of colours without any definable characteristics so that each work has a relevance for every viewer.
in the area surrounding Winchester. Its closeness to London, only an hour by train, ensures that there are many different practices in the local areas alongside large studio complexes nearer to the Southampton City Art Gallery where a wide range of international exhibitions are held. Alongside this there are a high number of short courses and peer critique groups which can be joined as a way of strengthening your practice.
Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist?
Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice?
In my work I try to find a balance between conceptualism and aesthetics, as in a successful piece I think they both feed each other; an aesthetic pretence denoting a particular idea and vice versa. My practice however has always been concept led and the idea takes precedent over form, dictating how a work shall look. In this sense I am a conceptual artist though held within the more traditional medium of painting.
In a social sense I will always be influenced by Ai Weiwei’s work because of the way in which he can accurately critique not only consumerist culture but also more pressing humanitarian issues, whilst always retaining an aesthetic intrigue. Closer to my own work Peter Halley’s discussion of systems and the organisation of society and Tomma Abts’s investigation of structures have influenced me in both a conceptual and aesthetic sense. Both artists are challenging the relevance of painting in an increasingly digital society and Halley suggests that painting will always be prevalent if only for the pictorial depth it gives, un-apparent in a photographic image.
How would you describe the art scene in your area? There are a multitude of small galleries, artist run spaces and commercial galleries
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In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art is central to contemporary culture as a form of critique and commentary on a wide range of issues. There are less barriers than in the press, therefore everything can be discussed making one re-consider more trivial issues such as fashion choices to more serious areas such as conflict and the shifting political dynamic. As well as being a platform for discussions on social issues, art also offers the viewer a, even if momentary, break from these pressures, allowing one to be fully immersed in an experience which only references itself. What is the most challenging part about working with traditional media? As life becomes increasingly digitalised more traditional mediums are being questioned however this is not a new phenomenon, the prevalence of painting challenged a hundred years ago. Within this century there have been no signs of traditional media losing popularity though. This may be because working within areas such as paint gives one the freedom to reveal, conceal, explain and ignore what one wants within the frame, an idea easily encapsulated. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? Experimentation is key to finding out how you want your practice to be defined, as though you may set out with a particular idea, this will be improved by testing a variety of materials, concepts and forms. A website and social media presence are essential as ways of increasing the profile of your work, however this can also be done first hand by attending events such as private views and networking. It is worth applying for a variety of opportunities from day one from exhibitions to curational opportunities and articles to not only publicise your practice but to expand your network. Joining a local critique group will also enable you to discuss your practice, get feedback whilst forging connections with artists in your local area. Professionally, whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s your goal? I want expand my body of work, particularly in painting, so that I am able to approach larger galleries with my portfolio both locally and internationally whilst continuing to organise and curate group shows. Alongside exhibition opportunities I am looking to attend an international residency soon as a way of pushing the aesthetic and conceptual nature of my practice.
Paul Miller Leeds, UK
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When, how and why started your art practice?
How has your work changed in the past years?
The when is hard to pinpoint as it was a kind of incremental process; having studied fine art, then product design, I ended up doing freelance graphic design to earn money and became quite successful. Eventually, I craved more creativity and perhaps was becoming slightly bored with design and briefs etc., although a lot of my graphic design work was very organic and layered and often included quite sophisticated original artwork (I tried to avoid stock imagery at all costs) but I wanted more, so I arranged an exhibition and set about finishing a body of work for it and it went from there. I continued my design studio but gradually put more and more time into my art practice, selling work and developing. A real shift in emphasis came in 2006, when I relocated to a studio building purely for artists - Patrick Studios in Leeds, run by East Street Arts. I still do design work, but it’s very occasional - I actually really enjoy the novelty of it now when it comes along!
The most obvious change has been developing from purely wall-based work to moving image, sound and installation work, projection mapping and live events. In terms of the content of my work and the mental processes I go through, I guess I would say that my earlier work was almost purely driven by emotion and memory and later on this gets filtered more and evolves conceptually, but is always driven by wanting to see what lies beneath the “reality” we are presented with, be it on a very personal level, say how someone communicates or presents/hides themselves, or the space and the universe around us. I like finding or creating shifting versions of things; unseen, unheard, unimagined. In terms of how I actually make work, one thing has always been part of the process: working with multiple layers and versions. This began with ink and water drawings and paintings and continued when I was doing a lot of Photoshop work; tiny adjust-
ments and distortions through layer upon layer, versions of versions etc. and now I work the same way with sound and video. It’s particularly fluid when I’m doing live video mixing for music events and you can just blend and melt all the visuals together, strip them down, build them up, completely change everything in a second. This again is quite a change from when I started with video - I still use traditional video editing, but the freedom of just getting hold of the MIDI controller and intuitively creating is so much more satisfying and you get the immediate feedback, so wherever possible I record live mixes like this to create finished videos, then fine tune if neccessary in either Motion or After Effects. Another way I now bring these strands of my visual work together is by using one process to inform the other and vice versa, for example, an ongoing body of work called “In Flux”, started with projections onto a moving person, with abstracted line work based on earlier digital drawings and videos. As well as filming the process, I shot hundreds of stills, capturing fleeting
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versions of the light and form. Several of these images were then taken and stitched back together in sequences for a music video, whilst others have now become re-worked as oil paintings, so there is often a cyclical process going on, re-interpreting and creating new ideas and outcomes. Another major change has been working collaboratively. Making art had mostly been a solitary process when I started out and I didn’t really want to let anyone into that space, but as I’ve developed my own work and met more artists I’ve sought out more collaboration and my work has developed greatly as a result. I think when you only work alone - in my case, certainly - you can end up thinking in the same way too much and seeking similar paths and solutions - no one is there to challenge your mind directly. Creatively collaborating definitely fosters more rigourous thinking and results in a wider range of ideas. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I remember when I first started trying to exhibit and get work out there I was considering relocating to London as the art scene often felt quiet or out of reach. Nowadays though, there is so much more going on in Leeds and the surrounding araea; more artists, venues, events, promotion. Some people might feel that it lags, in some ways, behind other cities, but it’s a great place to be and a good base and still has loads of growth potential.
In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture?
What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts?
Well, art is kind of woven into cultural fabric on all sorts of levels, but in terms of creation of art to experience, I think at its best it creates opportunity for thinking in a different way about things - or changing our perceptions in some way. When I make something to see, hear, be in etc, I hope to either give an experience people have never had before, or make them think about something, or even just the space they’re in, in a completely different way.
Well, an obvious point is that it takes a lot of time, hard work and persistence to get anywhere and financially it can be a real slog, so be prepared for that. So perseverance and not getting hung up on rejection is essential. Make what you like, don’t try and second guess what might be popular and never pat yourself on the back too much - there’s always more to learn.
Name three artists you admire. There are so many! Francis Bacon - He just spewed it all out onto the canvas. Those images just burn into your retinas, there’s nothing quite like him. Chris Cunningham - His music video work was so inspiring to me; the first time I saw his video for Aphex Twin’s “Come to Daddy” my face nearly fell off. Even the mainstream stuff like Madonna’s “Frozen” - just endlessly inventive. It really made me want to make stuff. H R Giger - For his unique vision and I love the way he managed to permeate popular culture with such dark and disturbing imagery.
What are your future plans? In terms of projects, I’m planning to scale up a collaboration with a very talented sculptor, Dean Kemp, to produce a six metre high projection mapped work at Left Bank, Leeds (a majestic de-consecrated Catholic church). I’m also planning more projects with long term collaborator, glass artist Griet Beyaert (we work under the name The Glass Cyphers), including entering the realm of domestic and commercial installations. In more general terms, I’m looking to make more time for painting - it’s such a good way to unhook from all the digital stuff. I also want make more music and sound work - and I’d like to do more performance based events where I’m mixing sound and visuals simultaneously. It’s incredibly challenging, but it’s such a buzz doing the live stuff. So far, one or the other tends to suffer as concentration shifts, haha - so I want to get to a more fluid point where I can spin the plates better!
Helen Marie Newman Manchester, UK
Helen Marie Newman is a British artist predominately working in sculpture. Her work studies the nature of tactile materials and how as humans we use our bodies to create a relationship with materials to make an object. Newman takes huge influence from her childhood growing up studying her parents approach of transforming everyday materials into something new. “I consider my role as an artist as a person at play. I treat the studio much like a person pottering in their shed, taking influence from my Father’s D.I.Y mentality of making something out of anything approach.” Through modes of play with tactile materials her intention is never to make anything that looks likes something, but more to analyse how materials react to her hands through play, making and touch to find their own way of turning into an object and finding their own characteristics. Human interaction with materials is a large factor of Newman’s work. Currently working with clay she examines how the material moulds with her hands, inspecting how every mark made the clay preserves it, containing a history of her making. Newman lives and works in Manchester, UK and has recently completed a solo show ‘Contact’ at Sloe Gallery, Manchester and residency with Whitworth Young Contemporaries at the Whitworth Art Gallery.
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When, how and why started your art practice? I always find it cringe worthy when I hear people on talent shows say “I’ve always wanted to be a singer ever since I could speak” but then I realise I have probably always wanted to be an artist since I was child. Though I never had any idea what art or an artist was, my earliest memory is of my Mum taking me to a children’s art club in the summer holidays at Bolton Library. Although my parents don’t have an arts background, they are both very skilled in different areas from joinery, carpet fitting, textiles, gardening and baking, to very inventive (sometimes beautifully botched) DIY. Some of my favourite memories are standing on a dining chair mak-
ing some oddly shaped biscuits with my Mum or sitting with my Dad in his garage or allotment finding scrap materials to create some kind of story with. I never knew that these memories would become such a great influence on my work today. Growing up I had a friend whose Mum was a textile artist. She gave workshops at my primary school and taught me and some friends different printing techniques in her studio. I think since then I knew I wanted to be an artist in some way. In college I studied Textiles and Photography and had very creative and supportive tutors. At times my college felt very academic, and I felt I didn’t fit in there. Walking into my art classes gave me great inspiration, my tutors took away the focus of academic work and concentrated on making art. I knew I wanted
to study art at University, but I had no idea what kind of art I wanted to do or artist I wanted to be. I went on to do a Foundation Course in Art and Design which was a great experience to find out different art practices and explore different ideas. I would definitely recommend a Foundation Course to anyone who is looking to study art. After my Foundation year I struggled to find the right course at University, having applied for Graphics, studied Multimedia for a year, and then finally found Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University, and it was perfect fit. The rest is history! How has your work changed in the past years? During my degree I made a lot of work based on analogue photography and VHS recordings, exploring what these mediums meant as objects. I started to create installations that used multiple TV screens and VHS players to make visual media more sculptural. Finishing my degree I fell out of love with video installation and felt a bit lost. Gaining a residency at The Whitworth as part of the Whitworth Young Contemporaries programme, I began to find a love for materials and tactility which resulted in me carrying out a series of material based workshops. I realised that my work was about objects and the human elements of collecting and making objects. This lead me to start working with a variety of tactile materials one of which is clay. It is an honest material that allows the freedom of making, whilst also pointing out your imperfections, something which I value in my work. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Manchester’s art scene is rapidly growing. Amongst the big galleries, The Whitworth and Manchester Art Gallery, there are a lot of collectives, studios and independent galleries popping up, creating a great artist network. You get to know a lot of people and you’ll always find something interesting to go to or someone new to speak to. Moving back to Manchester after my degree in 2014 I was fortunate enough to be supported by Castlefield Gallery and gain a studio space in one of their New Arts Spaces, Federation House. New Arts Spaces is a scheme that provides pop up spaces for artists and collectives to use as a studio or exhibition space. Castlefield Gallery is always on my list of galleries to visit in Manchester, and a place that provides a lot of support for artists. After being there
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for a year, I moved on to work in a small studio space called Suite in Salford. I love working there and it has a great community of artists that provide a lot of support and advice, as well as a friendly atmosphere. I have also recently completed a solo show at Sloe Gallery, an independent gallery ran by MA graduates from MMU. It is a great space and I was honoured to be asked to exhibit there and support a young gallery. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art in contemporary culture for me means the opportunity to see the world through another persons eyes. Art teaches us about the world we live in, and has often helped me to understand cultural or political events of the past and present. Seeing a piece of art in a gallery creates a relationship between us the viewer and the artist. Art to me should never be restricted, enjoyed by all and provide a platform for conversation that expresses a variety of opinions. If we all thought the same the world wouldn’t be very interesting.
Name three artists you admire. An artist who has inspired me since graduating is Susie MacMurray. Susie gave me my first real art job as an artist assistant and along the way showed me how to have a strong work ethic, determination to never give up, and an appreciation for unusual materials and ways of working with them. I am also at the moment enjoying looking at the work of Phyllida Barlow and Jesse Wine. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? I’m often asked this question when leading workshops with schools or colleges, and it always feels a bit strange because I feel like I’m only just starting out. The advice I give reflecting on my career so far is one: Never give up. Email galleries and studios for advice or the opportunity for work experience, you never know what you might gain. Two: Love mistakes. It has taken a long time for me to realise that mistakes are good, they give you
the opportunity to reflect on your work and sometimes answer questions you did’t realise were there. Three: Try everything. My regret from university is not making the most of the workshops I had for free, for example wood work, casting and ceramics. These are all things I now use in my practice and I have recently gone back to college to do a NVQ in Carpentry and Joinery. I’ve also taken a few ceramics classes too. Lastly, love what you do. It sounds lame, but it’s true. What are your future plans? At the moment I am applying to study a Masters Degree in Contemporary/Fine Art and pottering in my studio creating a new body of work. I am also working on a magazine with journalist Amelia Ellis called Deluxe which focuses on publishing true stories and giving a platform for talent in a variety of creative industries. We were feeling frustrated with the amount of creative opportunities circulating in the South, so we wanted to generate our own. We both love print so a magazine felt like a perfect fit.
Alberto Repetti Genova, Italy
The deeper is the knowledge of painting and drawing techniques the greater is the chance of being able to express oneself and communicate. As you may notice, it’s a continuous research into the possibilities of anencounter between the real and the imaginary, through different materials and experiences, moving to a final and unrepeatable result. Each painting, drawing and digital image is the result of a unique study, which lasts the lifetime of the single opera. You won’t find here replicas of the same work in different colours. Subject, technique and formal approach unite to tell the story of eachcreative emotion.
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When, how and why started your art practice? Even when I was a child I used to get a physical kick out of painting and drawing, but it was only when I was around 14 and at art school that my approach got more serious and structured. I remember one particular episode which made me ‘discover the true meaning of a commission’. Basically after my brother was born my mother seemed to have less time for me, or at least that’s how it felt to me, and the idea came to me to take a Mickey Mouse comic book and copy its cover. I showed the result to my mother and I still remember the look of amazement on her face, and that look was the stimulus to me to produce another forty or so of the same. That day I discovered the true meaning of a ‘commission’ and you could say that what I always seek to achieve is that same look of wonder in the eyes of those who view my work. Professionally, what’s your goal? This endeavour has been a constant but it’s only in the last couple of years that i’ve felt sure enough of the results achieved so far to exhibit them. I’d like to complete two ambitious works i’m working on at the moment: I’m thinking of an inter-action between sound and image and to this end am hoping to bring on board composers and musicians, and the second is being able to exhibit with a good corpus of work to enter into an art circuit that will give me the possibility to compare and share experiences. Let’s say that being able to successfully exhibit one’s work without necessarily having to compromise is an excellent goal to aim for. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? If we think of the conceptual artist as someone who takes an object where its meaning acts as a catalyst, that is not what interests me, or rather it’s an interesting route to follow but not for me. For me the working process, the technical aspect, is central to what I do. I don’t want to belittle the ‘descriptive’ aspect of the work but I think it’s the result of a precise and meaningful manual act and this manual act must resonate with what I am in every single sign I leave on the surface. The signifier is also the meaning itself. The painting or drawing are a concrete representation of themselves even if they inevitably leave a space for a variety of triggers for each individual viewer. What I put on the surface is a construct, or at
least this is the result I seek to achieve, so that the viewer is directed towards a vision in the particular after having had an initial overview. I would like my work to be seen as close as possible to the support medium. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? I can’t deny that my country’s artistic tradition inevitably leads to the idea of a work of art on the basis of its compositional structure and at the same time its formal exploratory dimension. Renaissance and baroque are part of a heritage that constantly emerges in every Italian designer or painter, yet the evocations and personal passions which mature the choice towards one artistic direction rather than another go beyond this. In my specific case there is an ideal line running from Giotto through Cezanne to Picasso and Bacon who have had a decisive influence on my reading of reality which I am very aware of and which at a formal level, does not so much influence as determine the background noise which is a constant in my work. I imagine it was the same with other artists’ influences on these ones.
In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Matta liked to repeat that ‘art is a weighty matter’, while Cezanne wrote that every work of art should teach us something’, to which I would add that the artistic manifestation is something which produces emotion and transmits a message via a formal process. In the field of visual art we are witnessing a fragmentation unparalleled in any other historical period. The avant-garde have run out of steam, after being structured in a precise context and with recognisable elements we now find ourselves buried by images which multiply ad infinitum and seek to amaze – inventiveness at any price – maybe even provocativeness at any price. On the other hand i.e. from the ‘user’s’ perspective, what we have is considerable confusion, generally linked to a superficial knowledge of the subject and a cultural preparation which when it comes to interpreting the image is very approximate and produces an easily satisfied and undemanding superficiality. For me the work of art is key for reading the future, and I would say the artist is a kind of shaman, but this interpretation of complex reality which gives us
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a glimpse of the future navigates a sea of images and is not so easy to identify. The spectacle of art does not equate to art as spectacle and to get back to being at the centre of attention it must be first identified, which is no easy matter. In a room full of people shouting things out for effect, listening to a person saying something ‘profound’ and in a normal voice is impossible. Sometimes it does come out and that is a miracle. What is the most challenging part about working with traditional media? So the knowledge comes first – knowing what is the right support for one medium compared to another, be it canvas, cardboard, aluminium or plexiglass. Familiarity with the behaviour of the substances making up the colours or materials I am using. Certain colours, if we are talking about oils or tempera are made up of mineral or organic substances whose combination may give disappointing results for reasons of chemistry so that those two colours should not be mixed together. Accordingly for any medium the technique and a through understanding of
how to use the materials is an essential prerequisite for recognising what are the limits and possibilities for using the materials in question. Whenever one decides to start a work it is done in the context of the material to be used. Indeed I should perhaps emphasise that the so-called digital painting I ‘employ’ also requires a practical knowledge of the means adopted. Buying a box of colours or downloading an app doesn’t make anybody an artist nor indeed a painter, which would in itself be quite something. Today there are numerous photographic effects which enable us to produce similar effects to a job done by hand but their ultimate effect is superficial as they are a all more or less the same. The practical process costs effort which in the end pays off because it allows us to conceive formal inventions which help and stimulate the whole production process of the work in question. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? My advice is to always start from the drawing
and the composition. The acquisition of manual dexterity is necessary and is achieved solely and exlcusivley through constant practice. It’s like learning to play an instrument. You have to keep on trying this and that, be lucky enough to have a good teacher and if you don’t have one then learn from nature, by which I mean the reality around you and the work of artists who feed your curiosity and sensitivity. I think this is an essential prerequisite even for someone pursuing a path which is seemingly remote from painting or sculptural practIce in the traditional sense, as it allows a whole bag of technical tricks which can be made available for the creative act with whatever material is used. Formal practice allows us for example to choose the appropriate means to express a certain type of composition, a broader awareness and the broader the range of expressive possibilities. The idea should always be able to rely on a manual ability which allows it to manifest itself and to materialise. One last thing I want to add is that what has always been the moving force behind my work is to have an infinite respect for the person interacting with my work.
Photography © Tori Sutton
Seeko The Kid Asheville, NC, USA
Born in Haiti in January of 1987, Elisee Makasi Siriwayo discovered his artistic talent at an early age; he started by drawing characters from his favorite comic strip “Mickey Mouse”. At the age of twelve, Makasi moved to Burlington with his parents and six siblings in September of 1999.However, Makasi didn’t realize his true talent or at least didn’t take it too seriously until he started attending Edmunds Middle School, where he was introduced to Graffiti Art and Hip Hop culture as a whole. To Makasi, Hip Hop is not only a type of music, but a subculture on its own. The culture has its own language, which is expressed through the music known as rap, mediated to us through emcees. Breaking or break-dancing, scratching (also known as turntablism), and graffiti art are among the other artistic components of Hip Hop, as well as the key elements to Hip Hop culture.Once introduced to Graffiti Art in Vermont, Makasi began to learn more about it. In doing some research, Makasi discovered Dondi, a pioneer of the Graffiti movement in the early sixties. After reading about him and seeing his work, Makasi was blown away by Dondi’s style.Makasi went to Pratt, majoring in Graphic Design. He likes to incorporate his background in Graffiti into his work, always pushing and exploring the possibilities of his work. “I try staying very diverse with my work,” says Makasi. “I like to serve my audience with a good menu of eye candy,” he adds as he smiles. Looking at his work, one can understand what he’s talking about; from his colorful, grungy textured-filled illustrations, to his clean digital style.
Photography Â© Tori Sutton
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When, how and why started your art practice? I know this sounds cliche but i’ve been creating art ever since I can remember. As I child, my love for cartoons and comic novels , my travels across the world, as well as living in various places such as Africa, Europe and the Caribbeans exposed me to different styles and art genres and pushed my interests further. However it wasn’t until middle school that I started taking my work to the streets, simple tags evolved to more elaborate pieces as I continued my practice; having my first solo at a small local gallery in Burlington, VT. From that point on my passion to create and learn continues to grow everyday. How has your work changed in the past years? I have always been interested in the subconscious mind, dreams/nightmares, how they impact our emotions and make us feel. In the past year I have found myself being more and more interested in how what we experience in our dream state affects how we feel, live our “conscious” lives and vice versa. In my work I try to capture a moment in time from my own experiences or from stories from people i’ve met along my journey and try to evoke works that reflect that concept. How would you describe the art scene in your area? The art scene in Asheville, NC is very alive and inspiring. Everywhere you go you can find yourself surrounded in dope street art, musicians, street performers and lots of art galleries. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? I think art is simply a way to inspire, share a message and make people wonder. Name three artists you admire. Ekundayo, Herakut & Alex Pardee What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? Believe in yourself, keep creating and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. What are your future plans? Photography © Tori Sutton
To keep learning, creating, meet & inspire others along the way.
Art Reveal Magazine
Photography ÂŠ Tori Sutton
Photography Â© Tori Sutton
Mina Talaee Tehran, Iran
My works represent my concerns with the cultural and natural, and with the public and private domains. Culture may be considered as the conventional criteria for the desired and the rejected which restrict and liberate, centralize and marginalize. What I am most interested in, and I try to examine in my works, is the extent to which these constructed codes, that are usually considered natural despite their constant changes and transformations, affect the courses of our lives.
Based in Tehran, Iran, Mina Talaee is a visual artist and researcher with a PhD in Art Research from Alzahra University. She has begun sculpture since young age under her motherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s supervision and continued to the present under Master Parviz Tanavoli. She has exhibited her artworks since 2003 in Iran, Europe and USA; mainly focusing on political, cultural and social issues such as gender equality and cultural hegemony in her artworks. In her most recent artworks, hair works collection, she has taken natural human hair as the material and the signifier which carries within and indicates individualsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; cultural restrictions and obligations in Iran. She has been a lecturer at several universities, namely Soore University, at which she was also head of the BA/ MA programs for Handicrafts, Islamic Arts, Arts of Book and Persian Painting.
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How would you describe the art scene in your area? I see Tehran’s art scene as rapidly expanding. Young artists are increasingly joining and taking part in shaping it. They seek to find new ways to express themselves and their primary concerns in a contemporary language as part of the global art scene, despite the discourses which seek to influence their practices. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? With regard to the themes of my artworks, I am mostly influenced by cultural and social conditions and issues I have experienced, such as control and power exercised over individuals in daily life basis, the authenticity and aims of the conventions and rules as their means and the way people react and respond to them. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? I believe art is an inseparable aspect of our contemporary culture, I can imagine no better means to reflect present conditions and to be actively involved in shaping the future. What is the most challenging part about working with non-traditional media?
When, how and why started your art practice? I have been encouraged and supported by my mother, a visual artist herself, to learn and create my own artworks as long as I can remember. As a part of my routine life, I used to work beside her, as my very first master, since young age. But my decision to leave the academia and focus on art was after I attended Master Parviz Tanavoli’s sculpture classes in Mahe-Mehr cultural institute. I was introduced to new techniques, and the various projects defined based on themes, materials or media opened up incredibly vast and intriguing possibilities for me. I found out that my work as an artist could best reflect my lived
experiences, the disperse and even conflicting aspects of the social life I have encountered, and make a diagram from my point of view which may be explored by others as well. Professionally, what’s your goal? My ultimate goal is reflecting the present, its defects, shortcomings and paradoxes in the society, to highlight, challenge or to problematize them in hope of contemplation and reconsideration of hardline aspects. I wish to connect to people through art and to somehow underline the critical issues and problems which I believe are not just exclusive to a certain geographical area, but are relevant to all humanity everywhere.
From the technical viewpoint, the process of working with non-traditional media is not easily available and clear from the beginning, one has to constantly test various methods to achieve the desired high quality in artworks, which can be very time consuming. But the audiences’ expectations may still be more challenging, who may expect or prefer to be encountered with more conventional media, lasting, aesthetically pleasing, and even more valuable materials. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? I think they should prepare themselves to work very hard and be very sensitive to their surroundings. The advice I can give to them is to believe in themselves and to always keep working and focusing on what they think is most important. Being an artist really demands devotion and young artists have to have the will and courage to make their own paths.
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
Denis Taylor Angelholm, Sweden
‘Exploramus’ - is a first person plural word in Latin- one that describes best what dominates my attitude to Art Creation. I have no belief or interest in pursuing ‘style’ over the creative process. My medium of choice is painting, it allows me freedom that is not reliant on anything [contingency] but oneself, a flat empty space and some mysterious creative force, outside of the ego. As an artist I am therefore intellectually & philosophically eclectic in what I create, which frees me from the myopia of a false label, as a this, or a that sort of Artist. My work is not precious to me, its value rests in what I put in and learn from, when working with it - And, quite possibly,from what can be gained from it by other people, of which I have no desire for making personal opinions of it to influence or control.
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When, how and why you started your art practice? Like most visual artists, my need to create images began at childhood. At eleven years old I was taken from the inner city surroundings of my birth and enrolled in an experimental Art School in the UK. It was here that the natural impulse to communicate with images was allowed the space it needed to develop through nurture and nature. Once having accepted the term ‘Artist’ to identify myself and who I was as a human being, then the impulse to paint images became an obsession, one which I simply had to pursue to discover the inner power that lay within the creative force. I was also very interested in the subconscious connection to that force and why it seemed important and what it meant in the creation of original paintings. As I grew as a person and as an artist my obsession developed from instinctive creation to a more intellectual understanding of the
creative need and its process. These two elements, [instinct and intellect], slowly integrated into the base for experimental art making. After many years it became clear to me that visual art (painting), as an Art form, had been and to some extent, still is, vastly under valued or utilised, as a way of connecting to gain a deeper understanding of the untapped psi conditions of humanity and what that means to us all. It is this understanding and connection that I attempt to develop through the process of making my art, which is probably more important that what is actually created or produced by me. Professionally, what’s your goal? It seems to me that the words Professional and Artist are diametrically opposite in meaning to each other. The word ‘professional’ implies a career or something like that. Picasso once, said...”An Artist
is what You are and all You can possibly become, unlike say, a Bank Clerk who can become a Bank Manager.” - I think that sort of explains my viewpoint of setting myself a professional goal. My aim is to create original and authentic Art, I have no professional ‘artistic goal’ as such. How would you describe the art scene in your area? That can vary depending on where I am. For example, when I had my studio on an island in Greece (1988-1995) the Artists on that island were more spiritually based, yet advanced in a contemporary way of handling and creating visual art. When I moved to Sweden 1995- 2007, I found the Artists more insular and closed off - if not indeed parochial in their creative mindset. Over the last few years I have been actively involved with the visual art
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scene in the North of England - Here I found the art and many of the artists who create paintings to be reticent in accepting or creating what could be termed as ‘progressive art’. It’s a sort of nostalgic ‘mind-set’ that seems to rule their world. I find this standpoint to be very limited for visual artistic variation and/or the expansion of painting medium. Many of these visual artists simply do not take the risk of creating something different. There are exceptions to this general observation, there always are, but these exceptions are few and far between. I also feel that many artists, (in the UK), spend much time ‘selling’ their art almost more than they do about creating or thinking about what they do. And this habit of a sort of static non-progressive way of working, is encouraged by the commercial galleries, as it is much easier for them to collate all the art [of the area] and label it a specific genre or school and thus sell it more effectively to the general public. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? Norbert Lynton, Nigel Whiteley, David Young, Kasimir Malevich, Mark Rothko, Dominicos Theotocopulous (El Greco) - And of course, my own constant questioning of myself of why it is I create Art at all and for what reason. In your opinion what does Art mean in contemporary culture? Art ‘of today’ [sic: contemporary] has a kaleidoscope of meaning. Art can be anything that is exhibited within the accepted framework of an Art Gallery. Visual art and painting in particular, seems to have lost its value as a contemporary cultural influencer. Where as once it was a way for artists to question inner depths and the nature of what reality actually is, now it seems it Art mainly reflects the surface of an accepted universal reality. It appears to me that the Post Modernist doctrine of the last four decades has reinforced that retrogressive standpoint with the re-examinations or versions of Art of what has been done before. As a consequence visual art [painting] had become even more of a commodity than it has ever been. The www has helped to encourage this overtly commercialisation of Artists work and I believe, in many instances, Art is now seen
as just another sort of profession rather than a way of life. This attitude is slowly changing with the new generation of Artists who are slowly awakening to a well founded belief, that it is far better, more rewarding and much more an honest approach to ‘Live-for-Art’ rather than ‘Live-off-Art’. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? Discussion with other artists is important, if only to gain alternate ways of thinking. Of course reading about the past mas-
ters of Art, especially the 20th century artists, does provide valuable information. What I mean by that is not their actual Art Works, but how they ‘thought’ about their Art - And how they arrived at their ultimate pieces or series of artworks (ones that we all know). However, it is always the best policy to follow ones own path and not rest or rely on what has been achieved before by imitation or transcription. Braque once said that: “...there is Art of the people, and then there is Art for the people, the latter having been invented by the intellectual.” And that, I believe, is a phrase well worth remembering as one develops as a visual Artist.
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
Nina Tokhtaman Valetova New York, NY, USA
Originally from South Urals in Russia, Nina Tokhtaman Valetova New York based visual artist. Holding Masterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree in Art from University BGPU in Ufa, she has been working as a painter since 1982. Ninaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s works explore the relationship between ancient cultures, mythologies, fantasy,metaphysics and philosophy. The theme of metaphysical realism, visionary art , fantasy art has been very well presented in oil paintings and digital art works by Nina Tokhtaman Valetova. Experiments with color, composition and dimension make paintings enigmatic and paradoxical. Her works have philosophical depth . With imagination and meditation Nina uses as a student of Eastern philosophy of Zen the archetypes of the unconscious to the understanding of the universe multilateral thin. Her works have dreamlike quality, wherein objects frequently turn into one another .
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When, how and why started your art practice? I was born in the Southern Urals in Russia, the oldest mountains of the planet. It was a small village surrounded by forests and mountain streams. My ancestors were not native here, and came to this beautiful place from historical events. My father was very good in drawing of realistic portraits. My mother was good with color combinations and had the potential talent of a designer. My sister gave me a task to draw a forest or trees before attending school. All of this affected the expression of interest in the art. I studied art and Art History at the age of 12 at the Art School, then at the University in Ufa city. In Art school,
talented children of the republic Bashkortostan studied art for 5 years and passed the exam before attending. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? I studied Art History for 10 years and had the opportunity to explore styles and features of creativity of different artists. Many artists have influenced my artistic practice and some of them have impacted particularly the way of self-expression in Art. I was inspired by great artists Malevich, Klee, Miro, Salvador Dali, Georges de Chirico and many other artists of the past. At present I can not say that I imitate any artist. Searching for my own unique style I try to express my ideas in art. The intention to express my ideas and solve technical
problems in painting encouraged me to be involved in the world of art. In recent years, a positive state of mind, optimism, success and recognition could inspire me to create new artworks. I went through the hard way of survival, troubles, negative events that prevented a full-fledged self-expression in Art. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I am an American citizen and live in New York. New York was a remarkable art center in the past, but now the situation changed significantly. Something wrong happened to art business in New York. Artists have to pay thousands of dollars to art galleries, art agents and so on. Most art galleries do not care to work for a percentage commission.
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In your opinion, what does art mean in contemporary culture? It is not possible to imagine our life without art. A sense of aesthetics and harmony are gifted to human by nature in our genes in varying levels for everyone. Beauty and harmony attract us since childhood. Ugliness is unpleasant. Harmony and aesthetics are important in art, but art includes many other things else, such as philosophy, personal experience. Art is not only about the feelings and self-expression of an artist or about beautiful spots and landscapes on the walls. Art can have a lot of content, which can cover a wide field of ideas and thoughts. Sometimes art can be inexplicable and subconsciously affect the audience. Name three artists you admire. Many great artists created mind-blowing art. I can point out to Giorgio de Chirico, Malevich. I would like to mention Zaha Hadid, contemporary architect. I grew up at a time when constructivism in architecture played a dominant role. With the exception of the masterpieces created in this style, only monotonous dwelling houses with rectangular shapes could be seen around. In my dreams, new forms began to arise with fluent lines and not having sharp outlines. I began to embody the dreams of a new architecture in my early paintings. I pictured fantastic shapes with curved lines. At the same time, I had no intention to become an architect. I intuitively felt the new trend, the emergence of a new style in architecture. When I saw images of buildings created by Zaha Hadid’s project, I understood that this remarkable woman realized my dreams. ShewasdescribedbytheTheGuardianofLondon as the ‘Queen of the curve’, who “liberated architectural geometry, giving it a whole new expressive identity “ It was the embodiment and symbol of a new trend of non-constructivism. I suppose, the birth in Iraq and the culture of the eastern country, despite the European and American education, played an important role. I have always noted that the Middle Eastern traditional art of Iraq and Iran is distinguished by a special refinement of form and color. The architecture of Zaha Hadid is the embodiment of my dream about the architecture of the future. What are your future plans? Unfortunately, often plans and dreams tend to never come true. I can only say about my dream, which for many other artists is a reality. I just want more traveling, exhibitions in many countries. I also want to live in London for a while. I once visited England and was impressed.
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
Yatchman Seattle, WA, USA
I work primarily with acrylic paint, ink, papers, charcoal and canvas. My work is often segmented into pieces, diptychs, triptychs and quartets. The pieces may be puzzle like and fit together in different ways or each segment can stand alone. My images contain many diverse layers of meaning from the universal to the specific and personal. I am frequently interested in pattern and/or creating a rich sensual surface by making layer upon layer of marks. There often is an unseen history within these layers as images are obscured and revealed. My work frequently gives reference to my experience with nature. At times it speaks to issues of social justice, revelation and connection and how we are all one. Cynthia Yatchman is a Seattle based artist and art instructor. A former ceramicist, she received her B.F.A. in painting from the University of Washington. Since 1995 she has painted nearly full-time. Her works are housed in numerous public and private collections and have been shown nationally in California, Connecticut, New York, Indiana, Michigan, Oregon and Wyoming. She has exhibited extensively in the northwest, including shows at Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, Shoreline Community College, the Tacoma Convention Center, and the Seattle Pacific Science Center.
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
When, how and why started your art practice? I was lucky enough to grow up in a household that supported and practiced the arts. I went to elementary school at a time when art was a valuable part of the curriculum. My refrigerator at home while growing up was the proverbial art gallery. In college, taking life drawing, black and white photography and focusing on elementary and art education were key components in my starting my own art practice. My first true passion in art was kindled after college as I spent a several years diving into clay while I was an apprentice to master potter, J. T. Abernathy. I later shifted from 3D to 2D, where my passion currently lies. I went back to school to study painting at the University of Washington. Today my 2D art practice seems to be three pronged, art using life drawings in some way, abstract acrylic painting, and some realistic animal prints that use universal symbols or address social justice in some way. The images I have included for Art Reveal give a glimpse into these three areas. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? I do not consider myself to be a conceptual artist, but with that being said I think of conceptual art as frequently dealing with political and/or social issues which often can be a component in my art. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? One thing that has had a lasting influence on my practice is drawing the figure. For many years, I have hosted a live figure drawing session at my studio, meeting weekly for a few months yearly. Being able to draw models in my own space with a small group of artist-friends has been a valuable impetus for my own art. I participated in in an artist residency in the fall of 2016. I was fortunate to be able to paint in an amazingly beautiful rural location in eastern Washington, the wonderful folks at The Grunewald Guild hosted me for 3 incredible weeks of nonstop painting. This was a transformative experience for me. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Seattle’s art scene is vibrant. With a reputation as a great art city, it is rich not only in the classics like dance, theater and the symphony, but it is especially bountiful in the fine arts area. The creative community has a reputation for innovation and new approaches. A vital influence on the contemporary art
scene in the Pacific Northwest for over the past 35 years, has been COCA, The Center for Contemporary Art. COCA acts as a catalyst and forum for the advancement, development and understanding of Contemporary Art in the Northwest. Of course, another very strong presence in the Seattle art scene has been SAM, the Seattle Art Museum. SAM owns and operates three separate facilities, the main museum, the Asian Art Museum and the fabulous Olympic Sculpture Park. SAM houses over 25,000 works in total and works hard at making art accessible to Seattle residents. The Gallery scene is vibrant with most of the neighborhoods hosting monthly artwalks, which are generously supported by Seattleites. For the past several years Seattle has hosted “The Seattle Art Fair”, a huge yearly one of a kind weekend long exhibit, hosting the best in modern and contemporary art and a showcase for the vibrant art community of the Pacific Northwest. The fair brings together the regions strongest collector base; local, national and international galleries, area museums and institutions. Since 2015, galleries from Paris, Cologne, New York, Seoul, San Francisco, LA, Tokyo and more have been represented. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? I believe that not only do the visual arts provide pleasure, creative inspiration, and can be an expression of our sense of beauty but they can also help foster dialogue, ask questions and bring important issues to the public eye (Picasso’s “Guernica” is a prime example). Art can guide us to focus on the mysteries in life. Art can be an important way to document our collective present so that future generations may have greater understanding of our ways of thinking. John Ruskin said, “Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts-the book of their deeds, the book of their words and the book of their art. Not one of these books can be understood unless we read the two others; but of the three the only quite trustworthy one is the last. The acts of a nation may be triumphant by its good fortune; and its words mighty by the genius of a few of its children; but its art only by the general gifts and common sympathies of the race.” Name three artists you admire I will always be enamored by the clay work of JT Abernathy, master artist/living legend. JT is now approaching 95 and still actively producing art. His work is housed in more than 23 museums across the United States and Canada. A world renowned potter,
JT had a huge influence on my ceramics and his inspiration continues today in my painting and drawing. Even though for the past several decades I have been working primarily as a 2D artist, I keep close to the clay world by teaching this medium. While my personal art now revolves around painting, printmaking, and drawing, the passion, sensitivity, fervor and devotion that I witnessed and adopted working with Mr. Abernathy stays with me no matter what medium I am working in. He taught me a way of thinking, a way of appreciating art and life. I received my BFA in painting from the University of Washington and was privileged to study with Mr. Michael Spafford. Mr. Spafford said of his own work, “Basically my intelligence as an artist is reactive. I had one idea in 1958 and I’ve been reacting to that same idea ever since.” I believe many of us do this in our art, (I know I certainly do) we keep revisiting some of the same art themes and those can be with us over a lifetime. Mr. Spafford taught with an acceptance and a sense of experimentation that has stayed with me in both my own art and in my teaching. I was fortunate to grow up with a mother who was an artist and art instructor. Art was a very big part of her life and consequently of mine. Ruth Carol Yatchman worked in all the painting mediums and clay, but became best known for her work as a porcelain painter. She was a huge admirer and prolific painter of flora and fauna. In the “china painting” tradition, Ruth Yatchman worked on fine white porcelain using a series of overglazes fired in multiple layers at relatively low temperatures.(1112-1556 F) The medium is akin to watercolor but done on very fine porcelain so there is an added translucency, smoothness and delicacy to the art. Her immersion in her art and her enthusiasm was contagious. What are your future plans? I hope to carry on, keep painting, keep making art and keep teaching art. As to specific future plans, I suspect I will always be involved with figure drawing, painting and clay. I will continue meeting with a small artist group, the “Portrait Collective”. We have a long history together, having met in art school at the UW in the 90’s. We try to meet weekly to draw each other portraits, occasionally venturing out to incorporate landscape ...we have shown our work together as a group on and off for many years. Our current collective passion is to reach out to some other Seattle artists and curate group shows in the Northwest, The first of which will be “Exploring Black and White”, which we hope to hang in 2018.
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